Thursday, May 5, 2011

Live Review - Foals / Freelance Whales / Naked & Famous @ Terminal 5

Three different indie bands from three different parts of the world all with the same idea and message - have a great time! For England's Foals, Queens' Freelance Whales and New Zealand's Naked & Famous, each with their own interesting style and sound, all produced a cornucopia of intonation that would have the crowd moving and shaking for hours.

Going on first was Naked & Famous, a band who have been getting much buzz due to their current smash single "Young Blood," from their acclaimed debut, Passive Me Aggressive You. Though the album has been out for nearly a year around the world, it finally arrived on US shores earlier this year and the band has been enjoying much success because of it's praise. Naked & Famous have a very interesting sound it is a cross between new wave and modern electronic rock - think New Order meets Phoenix. The band's set was marked by fans jumping in the air and each one of them shaking from top to bottom due to the massive bass coming off the stage into the speakers and into the bodies of the crowd. It was a rather interesting thing to witness considering the opening band was ready to fire up and pack a punch. In their brief 20 minute set, Naked & Famous raised the bar and showed what they are made of. Keep an eye out on this band, they will be sticking around for a while.

After a brief intermission, it was Brooklyn's Freelance Whales who went up. Playing the biggest hometown show of their careers thus far, Freelance Whales may not have had the electronic punch as Naked & Famous but showed off the joy of performing live. The band, who are just wrapping up being on the road for over a year in support of their debut, Weathervanes are planning to hit the studio at the end of summer to work on a follow up. While they were playing a majority of songs off their acclaimed debut, they also snuck in a few new tracks for fans to sink their teeth into. For a band like Freelance Whales, who have such an intricate sound; incorporating xylophones, banjo, bass, synthesizer, glockenspiel, harmonium, and other various non-traditional instruments, everything sounded pitch perfect. It was was if the record was put on over amazing speakers. What was also impressive to witness was the musicianship of each member of the band, much like their contemporaries; Arcade Fire, The Decemberists, each member of the band plays multiple instruments and is seasoned in each piece of gear they pick up. Though they may have not been as hyper as Naked & Famous, they certainly were a band to admire on stage for over an hour.

After all was said and done, all that was left was England's Foals and like most headlining acts, you save the best for last. The British quintet who are a hybrid of sound that includes punk, Britpop, math rock, electronica and cold wave - in other words, they are a hard band to classify, but that is fine, watching them is like watching nothing else. The band, who have a stage presence and sound that could fill a stadium were back in America in support of their much praised and Mercury Prize nominated album, Total Life Forever. From the second they got on stage, the entire crowd were lifted to new highs, looking down to the circles and pits erupting on the floor and the amount of hands and fists waving in the air, the sea of humanity were fishing for a good time and Foals were going to give it to them. Not saying much to the audience, they would just play and let the music do the talking and rarely letting the energy level fall below "11." Singer Yannis Philippakis would bounce around on stage as if he was getting ready to run a triathlon and it would be later in the band's set where he would dive off the stage multiple times and into the crowds arms and surf his way back to the stage. It was a performance that left everyone in awe and begging for more. On stage for just over an hour, Foals could have played till the sun came up and the audience would still be wanting more from them.